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Countryside Classics at Uxlocale

I wasn’t surprised to learn that a woodworking shop sits just outside the dining room walls of Uxlocale. The old adage, “measure twice and cut once” is a perfect indication of Chef Elaine Pusateri Cowan’s sensibility and style. Uxlocale’s commitment to local and sustainable sourcing is as ambitious as it is successful. Pusateri Cowan sets a meticulous standard of excellence; as such, every element of your Uxlocale experience is the result of a great deal of discerning effort in the kitchen. It’s evident too in the woodwork, a literal manifestation of patience and understanding when it comes to New England’s natural plenty.

Pair the Mussels Bianco with a Sauvignon Blanc like the Saget Perriere from France. (Erb Photography for Uxlocale)

Pair the Mussels Bianco with a Sauvignon Blanc like the Saget Perriere from France. The wine’s sharp acidity and slightly salty minerality lend to the subtlety of the mussels while its pleasant crispness refreshes the palate and stands up to bolder flavors like garlic and pepperoncini. Ask for some homemade bread to soak up the delicious broth at the bottom of your bowl.

Order the Sausage in Vodka Sauce with a wine that possesses supple tannins like the Sasyr Sangiovese and Syrah blend. Uxlocale’s sausage is served with fresh rosemary, caramelized onions, vodka, crushed tomatoes, cream, asiago, and pecorino romano cheese. You’ll find that the wine’s inky density and earthy aromas complement a savory red sauce. The Tuscan roots of both wine and cheese attest to a true artisan union.

Sometimes the success of a pairing relies on ambiance more than anything else. Uxlocale’s sunset views and handcrafted tables set the stage for an evening of congruence. A wood-burning oven offers the warmth of one’s own kitchen stove and beckons customers to engage with their food with an intimacy that most restaurants don’t account for.

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What Grows Together Goes Together: Lock 50’s Cru Night Mantra

Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA

Too often, commodities crafted for consumption sit on dusty shelves, coveted but never enjoyed. Cru Night was conceived as an occasion to share something remarkable. 

This month, Lock 50 was selected as one of just 50 restaurants across the country (as well as a handful in Italy) – and the only one in Massachusetts – granted the prestigious honor of presenting an iconic single-vineyard wine on Cru Night. The event featured the Orma Toscana Rosso 2012, a vintage poured by the glass from large format 750ml bottles.

Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA
Cru Night with Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 at Lock 50 in Worcester, MA

The Orma Toscana Rosso 2012 is a Bordeaux Red Blend hailing from Tuscany. Working with Lock 50, Winebow Group relished Cru Night as an opportunity to open the minds and palates of central Mass to a world of single estate wines. Attendees were reminded by Italian Portfolio Specialist, Ashley Beer, that (as with food) one tastes wine with the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Orma poured a deep brick red and emanated herbal aromas of tobacco and dry clay. As a single-vineyard novice, I have recourse to assess mouthfeel in the same simple way I consider the fat percentage of milk. Orma offered the texture of half and half, both dense and dignified. Ms. Beer, our single-vineyard virtuoso agreed, declaring the Orma both, “Rich and opulent!”

Ms. Beer likened tannins to the sharp, bitter sensation of sucking on a tea bag. She explained that Orma’s ripe tannins come as a result of a proper rest, providing a supple texture to the wine. She went on to say that there is not an overwhelming oak character (gleaned from aging in French Barrique)  and this subtlety lends solicitous balance to the Orma’s bright acidity.

Orma’s robust character renders it a perfect pair for roasts and game dishes. When Beer caught sight of the chef’s pairing, she recited the mantra, “What grows together goes together.”

Tuscany is known for simple, rustic peasant food crafted from fresh components. “It all came out of the ground together,” Executive Chef Tim Russo confirmed. Russo prepared a Tuscan feast for the event featuring ingredients grown from the same region as the esteemed wine. Russo served Anise Rubbed Wild Boar, White Beans, Braised Cavolo Nero (black kale), Truffle Cacio e Pepe, and a Roasted Pepper Spread with hearty slices of fresh bread.

Russo’s Truffle Cacio e Pepe was a minimalist’s dream – a house made pasta dish crafted from three simple ingredients.The chef reserved his pasta cooking water to bathe the dish in a delicate coating of sumptuous Italian cheese. The Orma’s purity of fruit gripped the Cacio e Pepe with a full embrace. As for the boar, Orma’s hearty density held up like none other to a beast noted in Italy as the symbol of strength.


Editor’s Note: Lock 50 regularly host many different wine events such as Cru Night. On April 5th, 2017 they will host their next Dueling Wines Event, this time pitting wines from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in an informative and interactive wine tasting where their guests choose the winner!  In addition, on April 16, 2017 Lock 50 will host a wine tasting in conjunction with the highly acclaimed Peter Michael Winery.